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Nat Commun DOI:10.1038/ncomms15930

Characterizing sleep spindles in 11,630 individuals from the National Sleep Research Resource.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPurcell, SM, Manoach, DS, Demanuele, C, Cade, BE, Mariani, S, Cox, R, Panagiotaropoulou, G, Saxena, R, Pan, JQ, Smoller, JW, Redline, S, Stickgold, R
JournalNat Commun
Date Published2017 06 26
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, Child, Child, Preschool, Electroencephalography, Female, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Sleep, Young Adult

Sleep spindles are characteristic electroencephalogram (EEG) signatures of stage 2 non-rapid eye movement sleep. Implicated in sleep regulation and cognitive functioning, spindles may represent heritable biomarkers of neuropsychiatric disease. Here we characterize spindles in 11,630 individuals aged 4 to 97 years, as a prelude to future genetic studies. Spindle properties are highly reliable but exhibit distinct developmental trajectories. Across the night, we observe complex patterns of age- and frequency-dependent dynamics, including signatures of circadian modulation. We identify previously unappreciated correlates of spindle activity, including confounding by body mass index mediated by cardiac interference in the EEG. After taking account of these confounds, genetic factors significantly contribute to spindle and spectral sleep traits. Finally, we consider topographical differences and critical measurement issues. Taken together, our findings will lead to an increased understanding of the genetic architecture of sleep spindles and their relation to behavioural and health outcomes, including neuropsychiatric disorders.


Alternate JournalNat Commun
PubMed ID28649997
PubMed Central IDPMC5490197
Grant ListK24 MH099421 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R03 MH108908 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01 HL113338 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
R21 MH107855 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R35 HL135818 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
R24 HL114473 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
R01 MH048832 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
K01 HL135405 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States